Entries tagged with “branding”.

Have you seen these black and white squares as you’re out and about? They are becoming popular and more widely used as a marketing tool. These are called QR codes, short for Quick Response codes. They are similar to the UPC bar codes now used for scanning your groceries when you check out at the store.

You can link these to the URL for your website, text, videos, contact information, events, contests, and even maps. You take a photo of them with your cell phone (you’ll need a code reader application) and it connects you to whatever link you’ve stored for it. The one you see at the right is linked to the Viewpoints Archive on my website.

There are free QR Code generators you can find online and also versions you can subscribe to for a fee that allow you to customize the designs, adding color and images, store and batch process multiple codes. A few good ones to start with are:

QR codes are saved as an image that can be used on anything you can print on – business cards, brochures, direct mail post cards, real estate signage, posters, wedding invitations, warehouse stock control, even temporary (or permanent) tattoos!

Have the QR code link back to:

  • Your website
  • Your LinkedIn or Facebook Fan Page profile
  • Your blog
  • Sign up for your newsletter
  • A YouTube video
  • Real estate listing
  • Service discount coupon

The possibilities are endless! There’s no limit to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes. I anticipate we’ll see them getting more and more popular. Take a closer look and see how the use of QR codes can enhance your marketing strategy.

Does your website look one way, your blog another way, your Facebook fan page still another way, and your Twitter page looks like something else?

Consistency and repetition are very important when it comes to brand recognition. Make sure your customers and fans know it’s you by taking advantage of the ability to modify your blog stylesheet, upload your logo image to your company’s fan page and use a custom Twitter background.

Make sure that your logo is clearly displayed and when possible, use the same color scheme on all of your collateral materials, including social media.

Have question about how?  Give us a call!  www.wsdnw.com

Common USPs

Features: If your product is faster, bigger, smaller or comes in more colors, sizes and configurations than others on the market, you have a powerful selling strength. In fact, if you can’t offer some combination of features that sets you apart, you’ll have difficulty.

Price: Everybody wants to pay less for a product. If you can position yourself as the low-cost provider (and make money at those rock-bottom prices), you have a powerful selling advantage. Conversely, high-priced products may appeal to many markets for their sheer snob value. Several years ago, an Amsterdam designer came out with a perfume that came in a sealed bottle that could not be opened. This “virtual perfume” was priced the same as Chanel No. 5 and found ready buyers.

Availability: If you can get your product into a major retailer such as Target or Wal-Mart, you’ll create a powerful selling point by piggybacking on their redoubtable distribution powers.

Service: Excellent service is perhaps the most important trait you can add to a plain-vanilla product to make it compelling. Many people look not for the best value or even the best product, but simply the one they can buy with the least hassle.

Financing: Whether you “tote the note” and guarantee credit to anyone, offer innovative leasing, do buybacks or have other financing alternatives, you’ll find that giving people different, more convenient ways to pay can be a convincing strength for your product.

Delivery: Nobody wants to wait for anything anymore. If you can offer overnight shipping, on-site service or 24-hour availability, it can turn an otherwise unremarkable product or service into a very attractive one.

Reputation: Why do people pay $10,000 for a Rolex watch that keeps the same time as a $20 Timex? The Rolex reputation is the reason. At its most extreme, reputation can literally keep you in business.

Training: Training is a component of service that is becoming increasingly important in an era of high-technology products and services. For many sophisticated software products and electronic devices, a seller who can’t provide training to buyers has little chance of landing any orders.

Knowledge: Today, your expertise and how you impart it to customers is an important part of your total offering. Retailers of auto parts, home improvement supplies and all sorts of other goods have found that simply having knowledgeable salespeople who know how to replace the water pump in an ’85 Chevy can lure customers and encourage them to buy.

Experience: We’ve been there. We’ve done thousands of installations like yours, and there’s no doubt we can make this one work as well. Nothing could be more soothing to a skeptical sales prospect than to learn that the seller has vast experience at what he’s doing. If you have ample experience, make it part of your selling proposition.

Customers: There’s a reason Michael Jordan got millions from Nike for endorsing Air basketball shoes and it’s not because buyers thought they could really dunk like Mike. They bought because they wanted to be like Mike, even if it was just from the ankles down. If you have prestigious customers, mention it in your marketing materials and in your business plan.

Other factors: There may be many wild card factors that are either unique to a particular product or are not often used in a particular industry. These can make your product stand out. For instance, consider offering a guarantee. When consumers know they can return a faulty product for a refund or repair, they’re often more likely to buy it over otherwise superior products from competitors offering less powerful warranties.

Even while you can creatively imitate others, remember that it’s also important to be different. Distinguish your business or product from all the rest. Make your enterprise special in the eyes of your customer or client and set yourself favorably apart from every other generic competitor.

(SOURCE: Your Road Map to Success: How to Write a Winning Business Plan, Entrepreneur Press, Microsoft Business Resource Center)

Some great advice I received on branding your business:

Brand Your Business in 5 Easy Steps
By Patsy Foxworth, ActionCoach Business Coaching (http://www.actioncoach.com/)

Everyone talks of branding their business these days. Branding is what makes you stand out from all your competition in the market. What makes you different or unique? What is it about you or your business or your products that sets you apart from everyone else?

Once you zero in on your uniqueness, you can easily target who your market is. Who in the masses want what you have to offer, at the price you are offering it and from your location? Easy enough, right? Oh, the marketing geniuses think so.

Big corporations spend millions of dollars to survey their markets to establish who is purchasing their products…the demographics (age, male, female, and ethnicity), typical times and locations products are purchased; methods of payment; colors that are most popular; textures; shapes; sizes; smells; and of course the price range – it must fall into to hit the sweet spot for them.

If you could do all that for your business, would you? Some say yes, and others seem not to care. Branding helps a business establish what the owners of the business stand for. What they want to say to their end user/client/customer.

What does your business say about you?

  • High Quality
  • Low Quality
  • Cheap
  • Expensive
  • Accessible
  • Hard to get/find
  • Average
  • Classy
  • Mediocre

If you want to brand your business or yourself, consider these five easy steps to establishing yourself uniquely in the market:

Determine what it is that makes you or your business so special that you will not have to compete on price in the market.

Make sure every part of your business emulates this message – if it is quality of service or product etc. – maintain it all the way through.

Systematize your business so that you deliver to your customers expectations EVERY time.

Test and Measure your systems on a regular basis to audit yourself. Have no surprises – know what the expected outcomes are and continuously deliver.

Establish a Guarantee – one that you know you can deliver on – every time.

Use these points when creating copy for your website, too! Show your potential clients why they should come to you instead of the other guy!

Many web designers code their pages for a default display in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

According to W3Schools in July 2008, about 52% of viewers are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, about 43% are using Firefox/Mozilla, and the others are using other browsers such as Safari and Opera. There have been many a debate on which browser is best. The statistics say it all…regardless of which is found to be “better,” you need to keep in mind that viewers will and do use different browsers.

If your website is not coded for minimum cross-browser compatibility, everyone may not always see your website quite the way you had intended.

Ask your web designer if your site has been checked for display with multiple browsers, AND while you’re at it, ask how your website fares on multiple operating system platforms, such as Windows and Macintosh.

Your website won’t necessarily be completely identical on everyone’s computer, but at a minimum the general layout and functionality should be viewable by as many of your potential clients as possible.